Acocks Green Heritage Trail
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The project for a Heritage Trail for Acocks Green has been led by the Acocks Green Village Partnership and the Acocks Green Village BID, with Acocks Green History Society providing content. Design of the boards is by Anil Patel of Artebook. Volunteers have been recruited to promote the trail and act as trail guides. The trail comprises eight Heritage Boards, a Heritage Trail leaflet, and web pages on this website. The project has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
The trail can be done self-guided using materials on this page, or as part of a guided tour, which will include additional information and the chance to see old photographs about the many interesting features to be seen between the Boards. The whole trail is too long to do comfortably in one go, especially if you intend to consult the website along the way. We suggest Boards One to Four, then a coffee break. Then Boards Five to Seven can be done in a circuit, coming back to the Green. Number Eight can be done separately, and can be reached easily by bus or car. The Fox Hollies estate, covered by Board Eight, is an essential element in Acocks Green's history, but the Board is some distance away. Guided tours will normally offer Boards One to Seven, with a break at the Green in the middle of the walk. We would like to hear from you if you have done the trail. Please email us with comments and suggestions.
Further down this page is a list of links to pages on this website which relate to each Board.
Heritage Trail leaflet
The leaflet, which was designed by Debby Hunt of Dennetts Furniture, shows the location of the Boards and also suggests ways in which you can enjoy visiting other parts of Acocks Green. It includes a few questions, and below are links to the answers:
The trail leaflet can be downloaded from here, or picked up from Acocks Green library. Other outlets include Jeffries Hardware and Costa Coffee.
We are offering guided walks. The trail can be done independently in one as a simple walk between the locations of the Boards, which would take a couple of hours or more, but may be more enjoyable done in two halves with a refreshment break including Boards One to Seven. It is recommended that Board Eight is visited separately. Guided walks will reveal many interesting historical features between the Boards with explanations and old photographs. We welcome bookings from individuals, or group bookings by appointment. The Boards are on pavements on local roads, so to avoid blocking the way for others, we would prefer groups of around ten. To book a place, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suggested Heritage Trail walking routes
From Board 1, at the original Acocks Green, we walk past the locations of two old inns, the Dolphin and the Spread Eagle, to the site of large houses once standing right and left. Here is Board 2. Road widening took place here in the 1930s, and now we have pavement widening to change the experience back to a more pleasant one for pedestrians. As we reach Station Road, we can imagine the crowds gathering at the Picture Playhouse on the corner. This was Acocks Green’s silent cinema, where the management might have served you a cup of tea. Many of the shops that we have passed on both sides are replacements of what was there before, but from Station Road to Dudley Park Road we are looking at a complete mid-1970s row. At the Green (5) are two more boards, numbers 3 and 4, which describe how today’s centre has changed, particularly in the early 1930s.
To find Board 5 we pass round the Green onto the continuation of the Warwick Road travelling towards the city centre. Here is a cluster of buildings, which illustrate two of the phases of Acocks Green’s development. St Mary’s church was not the first place of worship in the area: the Congregationalists and Methodists were there first, but only a decade or so after the railway arrived in 1852, building of the Anglican church started, continuing until the new century. Curiously, this parish church has no tower or spire. Across the road, Stone Hall is a hint of the wealth that came to colonise this rural backwater in the quarter-century to 1875. Architecturally, the school is one of the Edwardian highlights of Acocks Green.
Yardley Road also reflects the Edwardian expansion, but in terms of the creation of a self-sufficient local centre away from the Green. To get there, we now turn back towards the Green, and walk up Dudley Park Road, named after a Birmingham jeweller called William Dudley. At Sherbourne Road we can see several flat blocks: these replaced large Victorian houses and the Acocks Green Institute, the cultural apex of local life in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Even Oscar Wilde came here. After passing some of the earliest Victorian houses still standing, we come to the railway station on our right. This was enlarged in 1906, and reduced in size in 1968.
Board 6 is located opposite the Baptist church, whose first chapel of 1903 is in Alexander Road. Many of the buildings near here are either nationally or locally listed. (A short walk back to the start from here is either down Malvern Road and into Millennium Green (5) turning right to reach Roberts Road (7), and Oxford Road, where we can turn left and walk to the Warwick Road. An interesting diversion is to the only original canal bridge left in Acocks Green, the old Vineries bridge (8). Or we can go down The Avenue (6) at the Great Western, a 1957 rebuild of an inn that appeared as soon as the railway came. Many interesting early houses are on the right here, including one named Baskerville House. We then turn right into Roberts Road and left onto Oxford Road. Roberts Road was developed from a gap in the railway embankment to allow the Westley Brook through. Unusually, there are two railway bridges separated by a gap: one is from the 1850s, the other from 1906.)
To reach Board 7, we can walk up Alexander Road, turn left into Rookwood Road and turn right onto Arden Road. This and Greswolde Park Road are two of the finest roads in Acocks Green. They were designed by a local builder, Williams and Boddy of Station Road.
Board 8 is on Fox Hollies Road at Curtis Gardens. Our route there takes us along Broad Road past some early cottages and a Recreation Ground donated to local people in 1898. The yoga school at Westley Road was once a moated farmhouse. The 1928 bus garage greets us as we turn left onto Fox Hollies Road. We continue on past Lidl, until 1997 the site of the Fox Hollies pub. After the shopping area, which like Yardley Road was a self-sufficient local centre, we can see wrought-iron gates and pillars on the right. Board 8 tells of the Walker family of Fox Hollies Hall, and of the large municipal estate which came to cover his lands.
From here our route back to the start might take us along Greenwood Avenue (2), a very wide new inter-war showpiece road, which stops dead at Fox Hollies Forum, a former mission hall of St Mary’s church. Dolphin Lane used to emerge onto Shirley Road here. Turning left onto Shirley Road itself, we can note approvingly the variation in the appearance of the inter-war municipal houses. On the left we pass Olton Boulevard East, the original intended by-pass for Acocks Green. Whereas Greenwood Avenue is a dual carriageway, Olton Boulevard East carries two sets of two-way traffic. Previously the old houses on the left had the address Greenwood Road, and before that Marsh Lane. We now prepare to turn right onto Victoria Road at the roundabout.
If we pause at the corner for a moment to look at the small Arts and Crafts cottages (3) further along Shirley Road, it is no longer apparent that these were lodges for a large house called the Oaklands, for many years occupied by Henry Phillips, a silversmith. The modern houses at the corner where we are standing have replaced the Oaklands. Along Victoria Road on the left we pass the house Mr Crabbe the builder constructed for himself. He also built a row opposite, which sits incongruously among the council houses on Olton Boulevard East. Beyond there once stood Hyron Hall, another moated site. Passing Botteville Road, we can see that Victoria Road is another case of several early buildings being lost to flat blocks. In the 1870s many craftsmen and businessmen in jewellery, gold and silver plate lived along here. Finally, as we reach the Warwick Road, we can see our starting point to our right.
When you have done the trail, please feel free to download your own copy of the boards from the list below.
Board 1 links
Board 2 links
Board 3 links
Board 4 links
Board 5 links
Board 6 links
Board 7 links
Board 8 links
We hope you have enjoyed this trail.